There Is Real Death In This Video Game

Death, along with taxes, is one of only two certainties in life. Yet in games, death is never really death. Its just a speed bump. In this game, though, death is death, and it is final.

Beloved niche PC publishers Paradox Interactive today revealed Salem, a free-to-play MMO that wants to make sure that players take their decision-making seriously. To this end, things you do in the game are promised to have a lasting effect, while more importantly, if you die, you are dead.

Your character is gone, and all your equipment is set loose for other players to grab. There is no respawning, no retention of your name or your stats or your skills. You are simply dead, and if you want to play again, you need to start all over at the beginning with a new name and a new character.

A few games have had this as an option before, in both single (Diablo II) and multiplayer (like Wurm Online), but an MMO - in a persistent world - where it comes as standard? Where a large part of the appeal for people is generally the tending and nurturing of a single character over many hours of online play? It's a brave decision, and one that has a far more drastic impact than in a singleplayer game, where you're the only person who cares. In an MMO, when you die, you can be mourned.

How it looks and plays are still yet to be disclosed, but the interview (via PC Gamer) with the game's designer Bjorn Johannessen below makes it sound like they're taking the world-building of Minecraft and turning it into a story-driven MMO set in colonial New England.

It's being developed by a small Swedish studio by the name of Seatribe, who for a while now have been working on something very similar called Haven & Hearth.

Salem is due out on PC later this year.